Sunday, June 10, 2007

Stupak and Walberg Disagree About Legislation

In a guest column, Gas prices: More than supply/demand in the Battle Creek Enquirer, Congressman Bart Stupak confirmed some of what I said at Walberg's Town Hall last week.
I asked Walberg if there was not evidence that what was really going on was the oil industry had closed refineries to drive down supply and drive up prices? Walberg responded they would not do that because the markets work and they want to sell the gas.
This from Stupak,
Losses in refinery capacity are not completely unforeseeable. The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee that I chair discovered internal documents from 1995 and 1996 that demonstrate that Mobil, Chevron and Texaco advocated limiting domestic refining capacity to drive up prices. The oil companies' strategy worked. As refineries closed and Americans experienced record high gasoline prices, Big Oil realized record profits. The average profit margin to refine a barrel of crude oil into gasoline has recently jumped from $9 to $35.85 a barrel. The average refinery profit on a gallon of gas, at $3 a gallon, has increased from 20 to 85 cents a gallon.
Again from my post last week,
When I pressed him again on his no vote on the OPEC Bill, Walberg asked me how would I enforce it. I stated that the bill will put OPEC and the oil industry on notice that we will not stand for manipulating prices.
I think Stupak agrees with me,
My legislation, the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act, would provide the FTC with the authority to investigate and punish those who artificially inflate the price of gas. The FTC could exercise this authority over big oil companies at each stage of the fuel production and distribution supply chain.
Congressman Stupak on scare tactics,
Finally, the professor resorts to scare tactics, likening my legislation to price controls that would cause lines at gas stations.
I think Walberg must have used this professor's talking points,
Walberg said that under the plan, “consumers can expect longer lines at the pump, higher prices and less gasoline available during emergencies.”
Stupak answers those concerns,
Professor Wolfram (and Congressman Walberg) must not have read my bill, as my legislation never mentions price controls. Under my bill, when examining instances of price gouging, the Federal Trade Commission would be required to consider mitigating factors such as "additional costs, not within the control of that person, that were paid, incurred or reasonably anticipated by that person." In other words, price increases that compensate for reductions in supply or increased costs would be perfectly legal under the bill. The legislation simply requires that those price increases be justified. (Bold) added by me.
Congressman Stupak, thank you for the explanation. Sounds like a bill that I wish my Congressman would have voted for.

That is why I'm supporting Jim Berryman for Congress.
My ActBlue page
Berryman's Web site

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Gary Wolfram is the Hillsdale College prof who wrote the op-ed on Michigan's taxes last year in the Wall Street Journal along with Rick Baxter, one of Walberg's aides and a former state rep. Anyone who's talked to Baxter knows the guy can hardly speak a coherent sentence, much less write one. Wolfram's definitely the brains behind that operation. That was the column that told businesses not to come to Michigan because our taxes were so horrible, which upset Jennifer Granholm and others. I wouldn't doubt Walberg would borrow from Wolfram, given the history. Maybe he's the one writing Walberg's op-eds. God knows he can't write them himself.
Feel free to lump Baxter and all of Walberg's employees into the muck with the Congressman, but rethink trashing Gary Wolfram.

Gary is intelligent and thoughtful. He is respected as a right-leaning, card carrying Republican, but is also civil and open-minded. He is nothing like Tim Walberg and does not deserve the comparison.
Anyone else think this is weird?

Walberg supports Free Flow of Information Act
Congressman says federal media shield is "the best way to protect the public's right to know"

Office of U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg

WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI7) today announced he has co-sponsored H.R. 2102, the Free Flow of Information Act, introduced by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN).

The bi-partisan bill's stated purpose is to maintain the free flow of information to the public by providing conditions for the federally compelled disclosure of information by certain persons connected with the news media.

"I have often said that I came to Congress not to maintain the status quo in Washington, D.C., but to work for real, meaningful reform on how Congress spends taxpayer dollars," Walberg said.

"I believe in limited government and fiscal discipline, and in today's modern media age, the best way to keep our government accountable is a free and independent press. Government waste, fraud and abuse are a breach of public trust, and we must not punish reporters who bring such indiscretions to light through confidential sources. Passing legislation creating a federal media shield is the best way to protect the public's right to know."


- This bill would prevent prosecutors and lawyers from forcing journalists to reveal their confidential sources
- The bill would not apply in situations where a source's identity must be revealed to prevent "imminent and actual harm" to national security, to prevent "imminent death or significant bodily harm" or to identify disclosed trade secrets or a person's protected financial or medical information
It seems really strange to me too. There was a bill earlier in the year which protected government employees from retaliation for whistleblowing and Walberg voted against it. But now, he wants to protect the media from something similar.

I don't get it at all.
does it really hurt walberg that he opposes a guy who accepted campaign funds from william jefferson and then refused to vote against jefferson's conduct in the house?
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